On 27 April 1838, shortly after his arrival at Far West, Caldwell County, Missouri, Joseph Smith, with counselor Sidney Rigdon and clerk George W. Robinson, began dictating what would become the official History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. By the end of 1840, Smith’s involvement with the project was more as an overseer and reviewer than an author. Of course, what was written was subject to Smith’s review and approval, and the compilers consulted him when information was needed.
At Smith’s death in June 1844, the History had been written up to the events of August 1838, or page 812 of Book B-1. Since Smith had given church historian Willard Richards permission to write in his voice, he felt authorized to continue this practice after Smith’s death. However, the bulk of the History would be written without Smith’s input and review. According to Brigham Young and Heber C. Kimball, Smith had reviewed and corrected forty-two pages prior to his death. Beginning in April 1845, this role was assumed by president Young, assisted by apostles Kimball and Jedediah M. Grant, and occasionally other members of the Quorum of the Twelve.